But then again, I was always one to eat my veggies.
Some people need a little more coaxing. When roasting isn't enough, bacon usually does the trick.
We're in luck right now. Asparagus is coming into season. Not the thick woody stalks the occasionally show up the rest of the year. I'm talking about the thin delicate green spears lined up like attentive soldiers. It only takes one bad experience to turn some on off of these wonderful vegetables. For me it was the chewy fibrous stalks that turned me off, interspersed with the occasional serving of mushy canned asparagus. Why, why, why! Serving such a wonderfully tender vegetable in such an abysmal state turns off many a child.
This preparation may be the key to winning their hearts back.
Did I mention the bacon? I never claimed this side dish was completely guilt free...
adapted form Jessica's recipe at How Sweet It Is
yields 4 bundles
1 bunch of asparagus, the thinner the better
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 400.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. (I use this method to broil meat a lot too...work wonderfully in lieu of a broiler pan!)
In a small bowl, whisk together oils, brown sugar and garlic. Set aside.
Snap off the woody asparagus ends by holding one spear firmly and bending it until it breaks, it should break at the point where the stem becomes tough. Discard the tough ends. Divide the asparagus into 4 even bundles tightly wrap a piece of bacon around the bundle. Place on the wire rack seam-side down and repeat. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the spears with the oil/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and the tips are slightly charred. The bundles may also be grilled over hot coals. Serve warm.
I've wrapped asparagus in bacon before, but this was the first time I roasted the bundles or added a glaze. Both push the dish to the next level. Usually I would pan fry the bundles, butt hey you are left with the puddles of bacon fat that start to practically deep fry the asparagus. Don't get me wrong...that in and of itself is pretty amazing. But by roasting the bundles on a rack, the fat can drip off, creating a crispier bacon, more tender asparagus and that wonderful caramelization from the glaze.
Oh that glaze. Bacon and brown sugar go hand in hand in our household. That slight bit of sweet. Oh my word...
A few weeks later we tried bacon wrapped bundles again, this time sans the glaze. The smokey flavor from the grilled added yet another amazing dimension to the dish, but after having that hint of brown sugar on the last batch...it was much missed the second time around...